No More Rights in Republicanland
by Eve Jégou
Lips Do Sink Ships
Installation view, Laurel Gitlen, New York
I was walking on Broome Street, looking for the
Laurel Gitlen gallery and I probably passed it without noticing
it. Thanks to my pocket map of New York, I finally found my way
to see Michael Patterson-Carver's new solo exhibition, "Loose
Lips Do Sink Ships."
The entrance of the gallery does not look like
the snazzy ones in Chelsea; it's a bit dilapidated and it's in a
red-brick building where there is still an old banner saying "A
& G Infants' and Children's Wear" above the building entrance.
I pushed the door--glad to find some heat after
a hard walk against the freezing wind--and it was the beginning
of an incredible voyage through the Michael Patterson-Carver's political
Then, They Finally Came for Me"— 2010
Ink, pencil and watercolor on paper - 10 x 14 1/4 inches (25.4
x 36.2 cm)
More than a dozen small drawings are hanging on
walls and all look like the work of children, but only for the first
quick look. As we get closer to these cartoonlike drawings, we understand
that there's a childish drawing style, but the content is clearly
satire against Republicanism and Right-Wing Authoritarianism of
all stripes. Suddenly the work is no longer naïve.
Michael Patterson-Carver is one of those artists
who have a wonderful story about their career path. In 2007, in
Portland, Oregon, Harrell Fletcher was going to do some shopping
in a grocery store when he spied Patterson-Carver's work. The latter
was selling drawings in front of the grocery store. Afterward Fletcher,
an internationally known artist and an art professor at Portland
State University, shown Patterson-Carver's work to Matthew Higgs,
director of White Columns in New York.
White Columns gave Patterson-Carver his first show,
which was warmly received by an audience that was mainly other artists.
Most of the drawings were sold and Patterson-Carver, a self-taught
artist, was actually able to improve his financial situation. Mirabile
At some point, Harrell Fletcher introduced Patterson-Carver
to Laurel Gitlen, who was the owner of the gallery Small A Projects
in Portland, Oregon, which moved in New York City about two years
ago. Gitlen became a supporter of Patterson-Carver's work and has
exhibited his new works since then.
In "Loose Lips Do Sink Ships," his new
solo exhibition, Michael Patterson-Carver satirically depicts Americans
living in the claws of the Republicans. His drawings, a mixture
of ink, pencil and watercolor, are colorful and display plenty of
text, which is the most direct way to express his political beliefs.
By Proxy, 2010
Ink, pencil and watercolor on paper - 14 1/4 x 20 inches (36.2
x 50.8 cm)
Republicans and their political spawn, the Tea
Party, are presented like a new generation of Nazis holding sway
over Americans who have different political opinions and divergent
points of view of human rights.
The Republikaners in Republicanland give themselves
the right to keep an eye on Pinko and Liberal activists, in the
style of Big Brother in George Orwell's well-known book "1984."
To put these non-conformists back on track, they are forced to live
in a universe where a portrait of Hitler replaces Peace and Love
symbols. Federal agents investigate and spy on everyone who seems
to be interested in liberal thought.
Patterson-Carver received an Altoids Award at the
New Museum in 2008 and since then, has been exhibited around the
world, especially in Paris and Brussels.
Michael Patterson-Carver's exhibition "Loose
Lips Do Sink Ships" is presented by Laurel Gitlen Gallery,
261 Broome Street, Manhattan, through February 18, 2011. Hours are
Wednesday trough Sunday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. [Eve Jegou]